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Artichoke

Israeli Coffee Chain opening on Wooster St.

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Apparently today is the opening of the first New York branch of the Israeli coffee chain Aroma Espresso Bar. The location is 160 Wooster .

Despite many visits to Israel, I have to say, I have never been in one of these. An article describing the chain and the move can be read on the web site of the Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth .

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Interesting. I had brunch at Aroma several times during my last visit (the friend I was staying with likes them better than Cafe Hillel.) I enjoyed it (it was certainly crowded on Friday mornings), but I can't say that anything in particular stands out in my mind. They seem to be rearranging their menu for the US, so it will be interesting to see exactly how much of a similarity there will be between Aroma here and Aroma there. I wish them luck here, that's for sure. Actually, I wish anyone luck if they're giving Starbucks a run for their money. I'll certainly pay them a visit, but I have to say I was a little put off by this comment, however true it might be:

“We discovered that whereas once the average American was willing to pay a buck for a coffee cup, today he does not hesitate to spend four dollars on a cup of coffee, after Starbucks has educated him to do so.”

"Nireh"

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The new store is causing quite the hoopla. I get a weekly news email from Kosher Today - and well, Aroma's ain't (kosher that is).

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The new store is causing quite the hoopla.  I get a weekly news email from Kosher Today - and well, Aroma's ain't (kosher that is).

I don't take this as much of a surprise -- many (if not most) of Aroma's branches here in Israel aren't kosher, either: open on Shabbat, hamez on Pesah. I don't think any serve meat -- I wonder if they will in New York?

I eagerly await the fully kosher (l'mahedrin?) Aroma in Teaneck -- it's only a matter of time.

“We discovered that whereas once the average American was willing to pay a buck for a coffee cup, today he does not hesitate to spend four dollars on a cup of coffee, after Starbucks has educated him to do so.”

An unfair comparison on their part, because their cheapest coffee still ranks in at around $2 (8 shekels for an espresso, I think). Hot chocolate is 14 shekels, more than $3. I doubt they'll be able to have Israeli prices in the States, since expenses must be much greater.

Most importantly: has anyone actually gone? I'll be able to go at the end of the month.

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I honestly do not understand the controversy that Kosher Today writes about. Why would someone assume that simply because a coffee chain from Israel was opening in the States it would be kosher? I do not know the statistic, but I would venture to say that the majority of Israelis in New York are not kosher. It is certainly the case in Israeli cities such as Tel-Aviv that many are not as reflected in that city's offering of non-kosher restaurants and cafes.

I would assume that Aroma is in the business of making money and are trying to expand their franchise overseas for that purpose. Is there money to be made in a kosher coffee house? I suppose, in the right neighborhood, Teaneck, Cedarhurst, areas at least where you have a captive audience with few other options, but that property on Wooster was not chosen out of hopes of drawing caffeine craving kosher Jews to that location. The Lower East Side rabbi quoted in Kosher Today who said that Aroma management is “arrogant and frankly commercially naïve,” suggesting that the store would loose business by being non-kosher is the one being naive. Having a coffee shop in that location that is closed sundown on Friday until sundown on Saturday, plus the Jewish holidays and pay the the premium for kosher products would be a good start to a losing business.

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Aroma has its opening , and some problems with semantics "One of the loose ends is the "Oriental sandwich." In Israel this is known as an Iraqi sandwich, but its migration to America prompted a change of identity...In the meantime, they have learned that here in America "Oriental" is a synonym for Asian, not Middle Eastern. So they eventually decided to call the sandwich the "Med," short for Mediterranean. "

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Had a bad espresso at Aroma on Houston street. Thin and wan. The cup was so hot it burned my lip. The menu appears to list prices in Euros.


You shouldn't eat grouse and woodcock, venison, a quail and dove pate, abalone and oysters, caviar, calf sweetbreads, kidneys, liver, and ducks all during the same week with several cases of wine. That's a health tip.

Jim Harrison from "Off to the Side"

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I'll certainly pay them a visit, but I have to say I was a little put off by this comment, however true it might be:

“We discovered that whereas once the average American was willing to pay a buck for a coffee cup, today he does not hesitate to spend four dollars on a cup of coffee, after Starbucks has educated him to do so.”

"Nireh"

I've seen comments / quotes like this elsewhere and it's patently ridiculous. These marketers keep saying that people pay four dollars for a coffee at place like Starbucks - they don't. They pay that price (and more) for milk based espresso drinks - which are NOT a "cup of coffee". Sure - you can pay $5 or more for a plain old cup of coffee in Vienna, Tokyo, London, Moscow or some other major cities but it's not that way here in the US.

As for Ned's comment on the espresso at Aroma - I'm disappointed but not surprised.

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Would this be a Sabich sandwich?

Aroma has its opening , and some problems with semantics "One of the loose ends is the "Oriental sandwich." In Israel this is known as an Iraqi sandwich, but its migration to America prompted a change of identity...In the meantime, they have learned that here in America "Oriental" is a synonym for Asian, not Middle Eastern. So they eventually decided to call the sandwich the "Med," short for Mediterranean. "


South Florida

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Article in Haaretz:

[...]The Aroma branch in Soho is the chain's 74th store, and the first one outside of Israel. The enterprise, which began as a successful espresso and sandwich bar in 1994 on Hillel Street in Jerusalem, has over the past decade grown into a thriving chain, with a presence in seemingly every nook and cranny in Israel. Company executives have now set out to paint the world in red, black and white, and to explain to the great huddled (and non-Jewish) masses exactly what Israeli coffee is.[...]

Michael aka "Pan

 

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I had that sandwich, or something very like it -- although it was called something other than a Sabich -- at an Isreali sandwich place on either Thompson or Sullivan somewhere between Washington Square Park and Houston. It was very good. Maybe someone else knows better where this sandwich place is.


Edited by Sneakeater (log)

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I had that sandwich, or something very like it -- although it was called something other than a Sabich -- at an Isreali sandwich place on either Thompson or Sullivan somewhere between Washington Square Park and Houston.  It was very good.  Maybe someone else knows better where this sandwich place is.

Do you mean Taim?


"Some people see a sheet of seaweed and want to be wrapped in it. I want to see it around a piece of fish."-- William Grimes

"People are bastard-coated bastards, with bastard filling." - Dr. Cox on Scrubs

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I had that sandwich, or something very like it -- although it was called something other than a Sabich -- at an Isreali sandwich place on either Thompson or Sullivan somewhere between Washington Square Park and Houston.  It was very good.  Maybe someone else knows better where this sandwich place is.

Do you mean Taim?

No. Taim looks better than the place I mean.

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Is there money to be made in a kosher coffee house?  I suppose, in the right neighborhood, Teaneck, Cedarhurst, areas at least where you have a captive audience with few other options, but that property on Wooster was not chosen out of hopes of drawing caffeine craving kosher Jews to that location.  The Lower East Side rabbi quoted in Kosher Today who said that Aroma management is “arrogant and frankly commercially naïve,” suggesting that the store would loose business by being non-kosher is the one being naive.  Having a coffee shop in that location that is closed sundown on Friday until sundown on Saturday, plus the Jewish holidays and pay the the premium for kosher products would be a good start to a losing business.

One of my commercial coffee roaster friends spent the time, effort and money to become certified organic, certified Trans-Fair "fair Trade" and also certified Kosher when he set up his business. Admittedly, it could be that he didn't market the right way, but he said that certifying Kosher just for the coffee itself was a waste of time and money. He wasn't able to track any increase in sales that were garnered based on that fact.

I can see the benefit of being Kosher for the food products in a coffeehouse if it's located in a key area as mentioned above but otherwise.... nah.

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